Imagine you could eat your favorite garlicky pasta every day and prevent major causes of death and disability. Some proponents of garlic have made claims that garlic cures everything from the common cold to cardiovascular disease. Over the past two decades scientific studies have been conducted to prove or disprove these claims. Overall these studies have backed up the claims of a food that does a lot more that simply taste good. On the other hand, most studies have found the benefits to be very modest. In other words, while you should not depend on garlic to save your life, it can be a part of a healthy life. Here are some of the areas in which studies have shown a benefit:
Many studies have shown a small decrease in “bad” cholesterol after 4-12 weeks. No comprehensive long term studies have been published at this time.
Anti-Fungal (Applied To The Skin)
Three well-designed studies have shown anti-fungal properties of garlic. Unfortunately, in the potency that kills fungus, garlic may cause a rash or burn.
Anti-platelet Effects (Blood Thinning)
Human studies have proven that garlic has blood thinning properties similar to aspirin. For this reason, garlic may have protective properties to the heart. Caution should be used if you are taking other blood thinning medications and before surgery.
Atherosclerosis (“Hardening” of the arteries)
Some research has shown that users of garlic supplements do not have the same amount of atherosclerosis as people that do not use garlic. Further research is needed on this topic.
Some early studies have shown that eating unprocessed garlic may reduce the risk of some cancers including gastric and colorectal tumors. It is not clear if garlic alone provided these benefits and further research will need to be conducted.
A preliminary study showed that garlic may be used along with other anti-biotic medications to combat Cryptococcal meningitis. Again, further research is needed to prove the efficacy of garlic in antibacterial infections
High Blood Pressure
Many studies have shown a slight decrease in blood pressure while using garlic supplements
One study showed a significant decrease in tick bites in people that used a garlic supplement. Follow-up studies are needed to prove this study’s claim.
Studies have been conducted to investigate several other potential benefits of garlic. These include: heart attack prevention in patients with known heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, upper respiratory tract infection, diabetes, and stomach ulcers. These studies either shown very little or no benefit and other research is needed.
In conclusion, while garlic may not be a miracle food, it does have the power to combine with a balanced diet and exercise for a healthier life.
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